If your furniture is difficult to push, it's probably made of real wood. If it's light and easy to move, it's probably a fake. Real wood has a distinctive grain pattern and is not entirely symmetrical. The touch, if the surface is not sealed, can help you discover if a piece is made of solid wood or veneer.
Real wood veins don't have a perfect, flawless grain pattern. If it varies and changes, it's most likely real. If you feel and notice a perfectly repeated pattern of veins, you will most likely touch a sheet metal or even a laminate of some kind. If the surface doesn't have any grains, again, it's probably a sheet metal.
A great indicator of solid wood is the dovetail construction. Your furniture may still have veneered fronts, but it's most likely made of solid wood if you see that tab and slot construction where the drawer connects to the front of the drawer connects to the front of the drawer. I had to start my post on How to know if a piece of furniture is made of real wood with one of the easiest tips. Open the drawers if the furniture has them.
The sides of the drawers can indicate if the piece is made of real wood or not. Look for dovetail edges where the front of the drawers meets the sides of the drawer. Depending on the age of the piece, the dovetail may be more glued together or separated. If you see drawers in the shape of a dovetail, you have a piece of real wood.
Another great indicator of wood veneer is when a seemingly solid piece of wood has wood veins that go in different directions. Natural wood veins follow the same pattern and do not intersect, which means that if your furniture has a piece with crossed wood veins, it is most likely that it is some type of veneer. Visually, the wood grain patterns used in laminates can closely mimic the look of wood. One way to distinguish the real from the artificial in this case is to check the repetition of patterns.
If you find that the pattern is repeated on the same piece of furniture, or on two dining chairs, for example, it is very likely that it is a laminated surface, since natural wood is always different from one table to another, from one tree to another. The random nature of wood grain patterns is difficult to realistically falsify. If you live on the third floor or need to move for work reasons, solid wood furniture may not be the best option. Another drawback of wood veneers is that a veneer finish cannot be repaired or repainted as quickly as solid wood.
Solid wood is extracted from wood rather than being manufactured or constructed from various wood compounds or wood-like substances. If the furniture you are considering has delicate and beautifully carved details, you are looking at an authentic and solid piece of wood. Another advantage of wood veneers is that the flexibility of a sheet allows the material to be bent in ways that cannot be achieved with solid wood. In short, solid wood pieces and furniture will end up costing more than veneer instead of MDF or chipboard.
In a nutshell, solid wood is original wood cut from trees, brought directly from nature to your home. One of the drawbacks of wood veneers is that they are more susceptible to water damage than solid wood. Remember that both solid wood and wood veneers have advantages and disadvantages, and it's up to you to decide which one is right for you. Now that you know the difference between solid wood and wood veneer, the next thing to determine is which one is right for you.
Solid wood furniture is a great choice if you hate replacing your sofa or dining set every three years. The benefits of solid wood are durability, the ease of repairing the finish and a surprising factor that few other furniture construction materials offer.